MODERNITY, EUROPEAN EMPIRES, COLONIALISM AND CAPITALISM (TO UNDERSTAND THE TRANS-MODERNITY PROCESS)1 Enrique Dussel UAM-Izt

, Mexico City (2004) This shall be a short paper, wherein I explain the thesis held in other works to which I shall make reference. This paper will only consider the fundamental thesis, the first of which is that the four subjects included in the title are simultaneously originated, co-imply each other and are mutually determined. In fact, this four subjects which I wish to articulate, have various treatments, their own problems, specialists and bibliography. Of course, they make reference to historical realities of which no one can deny their relevance and existence. However, what I intend is to cross and articulate the four problems in one sole argument to, thus, gain more importance: a) in the criticism of Eurocentric ideology (invisible basis of human sciences still currently existing in Europe and in the United States and, unfortunately, in a large portion of the world periphery); and b) in the discernment of the fundamental thesis of a postcolonial liberation thought (the “trans-modern” question), which commits itself so that “Another world may be possible” (the novel “Alter-Mundaneness”, which the Philosophy of Liberation helped to formulate). § 1. The World-Market Abandoned by China For the last forty years2 I firstly noted the question: What place does Latin America occupy in world history? Why are we outside the standard interpretations of history? For this it was necessary to rebuild from the start this history “manufactured” by Romantic Germans and which Hegel expressed in his famous Lessons of the Philosophy of World History.3 My first intention was to relativize the centrality of Europe, situating it as one of the civilizations of world history and that it, nonetheless, had placed them in contact, as of the latter part of the 15th century, in 1492 originating the Latin American Colonial Christianity, with a unique physiognomy of said world history. But this vision had to be surpassed. In the first place, the criticism of Eurocentrism faced the majority of the European and North American intellectuals and, in philosophy, which is what I practiced, it was concreted by the end of the 60’s in a Philosophy of Liberation, which was now questioned not only the Eurocentrism of a Weberian type4, which is the
Lecture of the “Colonialism and its Legacies” Seminar (Chicago), April 24, 2004. I began to locate the thematic in an article entitled “Iberoamérica en la historia universal”, Revista de Occidente (Madrid), number 25 (1965), pages 85-97, 3 On the other hand, I gave a university level course during the winter 1966 semester (at the Northeastern University at Resistencia, Argentina) on the Hypothesis for the study of Latin America in World History, published for the first time in a CD which has been recently produced (Philosophical Work of Enrique Dussel, 1963-2003) (consult <www.afyl.org>). Something of this can be noted in my book The Invention of the Americas, Continuum Publishing, New York, 1995. 4 Weber bibliography.
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the European empires. but originated in 1968 when I was writing an Ethic of Latin American Liberation (published in 1973.traditional one. 1998. but likewise the partial Eurocentrism which were hidden in the attack of this ideology. 2003 (pages 1-18). pages 3-31. Chinese or Islamic and. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. 1985). Lanham-New York. had originated capitalism. Modernity (cultural. Lanham-New York. Also see my article “World-System and Trans-Modernity”. Bibliography at Michael Barber. in F. 2000. capitalist Europe. it was understood that the expansion of Europe at the end of the 15th century meant the beginning of the colonization process of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires. Lisbon and Seville first. the Cultures of Globalization. philosophical. metropolitan. who crossing the so called “Middle Ages” irrupted with a creative force into Modernity. historical. according to my thesis and is developed when Europe leaves behind the Renaissance Mediterranean and “opens” to the Atlantic. 5 . From the Latin American “Theory of Dependency” (explicitly formulated at least since 1966 and as an epistemic base of the aforementioned Philosophy of Liberation). historical issue to which M. pages 221-244. Fordham University Press. See Philosophy of Liberation written in 1975 (published later on in Orbis Books. Thinking from the Underside of History. articulating and situating the four phenomena indicated as simultaneously originating: Modernity. 6 “Beyond Eurocentrism”. afterwards Amsterdam and later on other Atlantic ports had constituted themselves as the “center” of “world” history. pages 161-167. first Latin America. Colonialism and the Capitalist System. placing in doubt that said colonization were an essential factor in the origin of capitalism (at that time a mercantile-monetary thesis affirmed by Pierre Chaunu). Siglo XXI. volume 3. 1998. In a certain form. for the first time in world history. Duke University Press. Weber devotes extensive works). Durham. thus. Wallerstein. Ethical Hermeneutics. Little by little.6 I attempted to anticipate Modernity until the latter part of the 15th century. 2 (2002). and the Introduction of E. It was a process that lasted five centuries. Miyoshi. see “Introduction” (pages 1-26). On my part. Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation. enters the “wide world” which surpasses the Latin-Germanic cloister to which the Islamic-Ottoman world had subjected it during the “Middle Age” (since the 7th century). Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. The traditional “Eurocentric” position considered that Europe had certain older potentials (Max Weber goes back to the origin of Christianism and even to the thought of the Israeli prophets). Buenos Aires). Europe could proof from antiquity its cultural “superiority” over the other cultures (even over the Hindustan.5 later on generalized by the theory of World-System of I. but certainly it was not the beginning of Modernity (at least Wallerstein puts it off until the Illustration of the 18th century). See Linda Alcoff-Eduardo Mendieta. later on the Anglo-Saxon America. New York. at Nepantla (Durham). Rationalism in Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation. The argument can be closely synthesized as follows. literary and scientific phenomena) being. New York. Everything seemed to indicate that from the end of the 15th century Europe. the Hindustan or Islamic world and to end the Bantu Africa were to become “colonies” of the modern. Jameson-M. Mendieta on my work Beyond Philosophy.

Princeton University Press. Eurocentrism could still argue that even though hegemonic during the last two hundred years. where I used the map of Henricus Martellus dated 1487. even though some facts may be corrected. which travel on all the Oceans (thanks to their oceanic experience of more than eight hundred years in the Indian Ocean and because of the development of astronomy. had followed. the European Empires. technological and even scientific point of view.10 which shows that. Continuum.9 This way. 8 Consider the reactions of Wallerstein. Barcelona. 2000. New Jersey. Global Economy in the Asian Age. The sailor Zheng He (1369-1431) and the four admirals under his command and with their respective fleets. superiority). political. etc. translation to Spanish. This has been evidenced with new arguments. but this does not eliminate its weight). University of California Press. which was expressed in the industrial and scientific revolution. consisting of by enormous and numerous ships. certainly not Weberian! 11 The works of Needham opened the road… 7 .8 correctly outlined. to the southeast Pacific (coasts from Chile to André Gonder Frank. cartography. the European hegemony does not have more than two centuries (from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of 19th century). Frank sets forth that the industrial revolution could have been perfectly occurred in the 18th century in China and that due to eventual causes this process failed. Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy. to locate the Canopus star) and to the north (from the Caribbean to Greenland. even though Modernity. colonialism and mercantile capitalism are five centuries old. El año en que China descubrió el nuevo mundo. But even this can be construed in another form. the United Kingdom advancing due to occasional combined conditions (not because of any cultural. The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Classical Civilization. ReORIENT. during the first three centuries of Modernity. thus. had accumulated a large cultural superiority during centuries. volume 1: “The Fabrication of Ancient Greece 1785-1985”. China.The book of André Gunder Frank. However. New Brunswick. as well as that of Martín Bernal and A. Grijalbo. in the concrete comparison of England’s degree of development and the Valley of Yanze (in China) by other researchers. was received with misgivings by the academy. however. etc. however. who “live” from their erudite knowledge of the “classic” Heleno-Roman age. his arguments with respect to his fundamental thesis are irrefutable (there can been less strong details. etc. Black Athena. technical. Like the book of Martín Bernal. commercial. This work. 9 See the work of Kenneth Pomeranz. including the Antarctic and the Falkland Islands. Samir Amin. which dethroned the “Helenocentrism” and. Currently a new fact has been discovered which we wish to consider. 10 1421. Europe. 1987. economic. The Great Divergence. 2003 (from the original in English: 1421 The Year China Discovered the World). G. We have to use this work for the historical vision of a more humble European Modernity. measurements instruments of latitude and longitude of the world. we should evaluate a new argument which will make us once again doubt Eurocentrism. drew the maps of the south Atlantic (from Western Africa to South America. traveling between the North Pole and the Empire of the Tsars of China and back). Rutgers University Press.). 1998. that China should be included in all this debate. the presence of more weight in the world market of the Hindustan and China. of the fourth Asian peninsula). Frank. based on my historical studies (see my work The Invention of the Americas.11 now we added having evidence on the trajectory which the fleets. was ill received by the university academic media. in reference to a study from Gavin Menzies. between 1421 and 1423. 1995). Arrighi. Berkely. Princeton.7 who was criticized y his own colleagues. because it had always shared. in addition.. Black Athena. even though it was known that China was far ahead by centuries to Europe from a political. 1987.

Modernity is a dialectic happening in which Europe has frequently been described as the creative reference. a “world-market” with a empty marine and commercial power. to be modernized. A “provincial” and substantialist vision would consider Modernity as an exclusive European phenomenon which is later on expands to all the world and constitutes the hegemonic world culture. Portugal shall fill this “vacuum”. In fact. We must then clarify that. separated by the Ottoman–Islamic “wall” of the central regions of the Asiatic-Afro-Mediterranean continent. to the contrary up to the XV century. Now let us see how I would globally conceive it and not simply as a European phenomenon. at 52 degrees south latitude. the Chinese). Imperceptibly he nurtured himself from another culture without being aware of same. being that. but likewise coming from China. at times without knowing it. who decided to “interrupt all the voyages of the treasure boats” (Menzies. We have named this ideology the “developmental fallacy” (lineal vision of history in which Europe would is the creative vanguard of universal civilization). will take care of remedying. because he had maps (extracted in Portugal). backward.).Peru) and to the north (from California to Mexico). Hindustan and. and obtaining richness. but nurtured by the elements of the other cultures which it simply considers in dominating. § 2. 1424. primitive. When in 1424 the Ming Emperors (1368-1644) resolved to abandon12 the undisputed domain of all the oceans. Magellan “knew” that there was a strait to the south of South America. 13 See the “Historical Introduction” of my work Etica de la Liberación en la edad de la globalización y la exclusión (Trotta. The “discoverers” in reality were simple “executors” of knowledge coming from another culture. shall begin a slow development which I shall describe articulating the four themes set forth in the title of this lecture. Op cit. political. 1998). a few decades after (and using. it suffered a secular under development which certain favorable combinations. among which we should include its geographic situation (close to the American continent. against Weber. Modernity as a cultural phenomenon (as well as technical. Madrid. to thus deploy a colonial system which China would have never developed). leaving. due to a historical strategic error. thanks to this he pacified his crew. less developed (in comparison to the Islamic. The rest is pre-modern. by decree dated September 7. in the Indian Ocean and Spain in the Atlantic Ocean. it suffers the influence of other cultures and is transformed from the outside. It was Emperor Zhu Gaozhi. Early Modernity I have already insisted in dividing the Modernity phases in a more integral form. literary. in frequent aspects. Let us consider this issue in a different form. Columbus has a map (of Henricus Martellus. which came from China) which guaranteed his trip to China from the east. exploiting.13 at that time peripheric. the Chinese maps that arrived via Venice to the West).. The European culture. 12 . page 79). etc. Europe never had any type of superiority over China and Hindustan or the Arabian culture. specially. from eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean to Australia. originates as the creative confrontation of a culture which is being transformed in “central”. before the 18th century. philosophical.

14 . However. Due to this. he “bumps” with a continent unknown to the Europeans (but certainly mapped by the I could use 1789 year of the French Revolution or 1776 of the work of Adam Smith. certainly prepares Modernity. starting with the south Atlantic from the Western African coast. Mature Modernity shall range from the date of the indicated revolution through the imperialism age and the two world wars.14 still under the Chinese and Hindustan hegemony. the “Middle Age” had died. in reality the fruit of the industrial revolution. It occupies Malacca and takes control of the Calicut movement in Southeast India. this exactly justifies the “modernity” of the 16th century. as it is a cultural phenomena of the Mediterranean. In 1498 Vasco da Gama arrives to India. Through 1492 it is still the “ancient model” of the peripheric Europe and of the “coveted and rich “Orient”. Portugal or England) in the geopolitical “center” (the Atlantic) of a new world: the European Modern World. Hindustan and Chinese world. In 1415 the Portuguese occupy Ceuta in the Afro-Muslim continent. The “opening of the Atlantic” placed Northern Europe (last horizon of the old system. which produce the merchandise content of the Asian-Afro-Mediterranean market. culminated at the west by Europe. but it is still not modern. which began some fifty years before. The Baltic opened to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean (and with it to Rome) was an interior sea. They transform themselves in the guards of the ancient route of the Indian Ocean. which shall know how to handle the “centrality” which colonialism shall provide to it. it lives the “provincial” experience” of a Southern Europe sieged by the Otoman world. which originate in Japan and Chine at the east. As late Modernity I shall make reference to the postwar age since 1945. Modernity begins with the Atlantic. dominated by the Chinese up to a few decades before. the route to the “East” from the west. But little or no merchandise do they have to offer China and the Hindustan. in order establish periods to Modernity and the European empires. The Italian-Renaissance world. which thanks to the Bizantine Venice and Geneva connected through the East to the market whose largest weight was in the Islamic. I must do this taking into consideration this essential criteria. With Spain (1492-1630) and due to the intended voyage to China from the tropical Atlantic (which was the intention of Christopher Columbus). Diachronically. I shall call Early Modernity the historical European happenings prior to the industrial revolution (1492-1815). If the Lutheran Reform shall be importance it is because that Northern Europe will no longer need Rome or the Mediterranean to connect itself to the “world-market”. where we can see the firm centrality of Europe and the collapse of Asia.1 First phase of Early Modernity To place Spain or Portugal as the first modern nations would seem daring. § 2.I shall call Modernity the interpretative “stampede” by which the sense of the daily life of Europe radically changed its course. Portugal shall begin the ocean exploration after the Chinese retreat. but here I prefer to begin on the date of the hegemony not shared of Great Briatin.

the tributes and the African slaves bought for tropical production is accumulated in Europe (together with the exiguous increase in value of the European worker). We would be in Wallerstein’s World-Empire.16 This would be the first phase of Early Modernity. with Iran. It was already a proto-capitalism-trade. In the meantime. the Abia Yala15 of the Kunas of Panama. To accelerate said accumulation it had to receive riches from external markets. the Mongol kingdoms from the north of India. having printed paper money in the 9th century and promoting handiwork production (¿with formal subsumption of the work process?) which incorporated millions of workers in the production of porcelain and silk weaving. The Chinese model of an Empire could be defined as the “World-Market” under Chinese hegemony. but as regions with which it traded to its advantage. Modernity had begun a philosophical revolution (considerably before R. colonies began to be born which the indicated empires organized in the periphery to the south. China did not occupy other countries or kingdoms. of the west Mediterranean or the Indian Ocean in the end same was poured over China). 16 15 . It is the age of the unaffordable World-Empire. These precious metals. in its economic stage. among other products which did not have competitors in the Asiatic-Afro-Mediterranean market. The Hispanic America (not the Anglo-Saxon America) is the periphery from where richness originates to be accumulated as capital. Europe begins to develop into the “center” of its first colonial “periphery”. Descartes) which since Bartolomé de las Casas (1485-1566) and through Francisco Suárez In Latin American some name our continent with the name given by the Kuna Indians: Abia yala. which occurred simultaneously and in a manner that gave a lot more weight to Hindustan and China. Through Spain. It did not organize its periphery as colonies. the first modern empire. through the Islamic world (which connected Mindanao in the Philippines with Indochina. exterminated with the tribute system. produced an original accumulation mainly in Holland (a Spanish province) and extended to all of Europe (even though. producing a crisis in the Muslim kingdoms of the African savanna.Chinese in its Atlantic and Pacific Ocean coasts).). The silver and gold. imposing fees in silver to be able to enter their market. obtained from Latin America thousands of tons of silver and gold. the work of the exploited Indians in the haciendas. in the first phase of Early Modernity. due to the caravan commerce. Europe. but favorably traded with them. We are talking of the mercantile capitalism. from trade. It was a “World-Market” without military occupation. because it will show us an in depth phenomena which must be considered: the different duration of colonialism and post-colonialism. The handiwork production which formally subsumed the work should be increased with new richness obtained from the exchange. The incorporation of this new continent to Europe means a major rupture in the history of the Latin-Germanic Christianity. Thus Modernity is properly born. in addition to the tropical products proper of African slavery (such as sugar. increasing the slave trade towards the Caribbean plantations and Brazil. We must not forget the diachrony in their constitution. India or China had a slow regional. colonialism and capitalism properly said. The Latin American precious metals devaluated silver. tobacco. homogenous development. money extracted from the mines with the work of American Indians. Egypt. the near East. The capitalist system as an accumulation of over value in the free cities of Europe. Correlative with the Empires in turn. the Maghreb up to Morocco and the Congo River south of the Sahara). etc. because they are not contemporaneous.

where Descartes. The Companies of the West and East Indies were trading companies and not state institutions of monopolist exchange.3. 17 . With Holland.2. Mercantile capitalism installs new ports. four centuries ago. a Sephardic Jew (his family having lived in Portugal after being expelled from Spain). have the backup of a continental platform or sufficient population. the culture or the religion of the rising metropolitan State passes to a second level. Great Britain. but it definitely only buys with Latin American “money” (silver) in the Hindustan and Chinese markets. however. Likewise. Baruch Spinoza. with the Chinese goods. follow this same road. volume 30 (2003). the task of promoting the language. The Dutch appear in Brazil. § 2. It shall be the Dutch Amsterdam. Second phase of Early Modernity The cycle of the Hispanic hegemony will last approximately until the Provinces of Holland become independent from the Iberian power and constitute on their own a shipping empire (1630-1688). in both coasts of Africa. This is how mercantile capitalism which occupies the World-Market which China had abandoned at the beginning of the 15th century is born. in Sri Lanka.17 § 2. Borneo. Great Britain. taking into consideration the confrontation which occurred with other cultures. that is to say. see my most recent work on “Modernidad y alteridad (Las Casas. In the 17th century. the first stage of the World-System. pages 690720). new points of commercial contact. England (Great Britain). who spoke and read the Spanish language. the Caribbean and some small territories of Africa and Asia. shall be the expression of the Hispanic culture with respect to the synagogue of the aforementioned Dutch port. together with France Among other numerous works. Modernity is reinforced in the trade world of Northern Europe. It does not have its own merchandises to impose as they are beyond all competence. in Cuadernos Salmantinos de Filosofía (Salamanca). but the second phase of early Modernity. Third Phase of Early Modernity The Dutch power does not. France and other European powers. Vitoria y Suárez: 1514-1617)”. It is completely dependent with respect to the content of the trade exchange. In addition.(1548-1617) would innovate the problems of the European thought. With the bourgeois revolution of England. where he wrote the Discourse of the Method in 1637. Now the project of the territorial empires appears impossible and is replaced by a purely commercial model. a student at La Fleche of the Hispanic Jesuits and which he will remind him in its adult age that the first philosophical works that he had read were the Disputaciones Metafísicas of Francisco Suáres. and faced with the inability of obtaining such an amount of “money” (silver) ore. the proper mercantile exchange had to be increased and they began to organize a capitalist World-System properly said. Indonesia. The philosophical thought depends on its heritage. France and the other European powers conquered with equal violence colonies in North America (New Holland and New Amsterdam would become New England and New York).

The American colonies and the Caribbean are strengthen. of enforcement of the baroque. always under the shadow of China and the Hindustan who continue to bear a larger weight in the world market. Portugal and Spain having lost the industrialization process (maybe due to the elimination of its bourgeois since the 16th century). Mature Modernity At the end of the 18th century In a state of such pre-industrial development. The triumphant bourgeoisie produces the philosophical movement of the illustration. Europe could then carry out the industrial revolution and not China (or India). the Middle East (before the crisis if the Ottoman Empire) and to Australia. China could not release peasants to integrate the production of merchandises according to the criteria of the industrial revolution. where it systematically compares these two regions.and other Nordic powers. It is the third moment of the Early Modernity (since 1688). and into a colonialism of a new type (because it incorporates war and navigation machinery and every useful production instrument). could release peasants to be subsumed to the production process as salaried workers. advances to India (1750-1858). one in Europe and the other in China to achieve completely new results. the Ottoman Empire. On the other hand. which shall slowly vacate its place in the European metropolitan powers. Pomeranz already quoted. The industrial revolution launches Europe to an unexpected development. produces a university reform of the largest See the work of K. This is the century of the English empiric. Germany. from Hobbes passing by Locke and Hume.). this indicates the crisis of the Ottoman Empire. to the Asiatic Southeast. When in 1830 the French occupy Algeria. shall replace the short Dutch hegemony. the lack of carbon and the cost of the food in the cities. colonialism is reaffirmed and slavery has a surprising development. This is how the interregnum shared by the English and the French Empires. § 3. with the existence of carbon and low priced food (brought from the English colonies of North America). In addition. etc. something that slowly collapses the Asiatic competition (China. 18 . Hindustan. which is not a colonial power. The industrial revolution will allow the English empire to achieve its final hegemony in Waterloo (1815-1945). shall leave their Latin American colonies (and others) in a state of pre-industrial under development which is to this day difficult to overcome (because the industrial revolution in said post colonial regions shall begin well advanced the 20th century). regions such as England and Scotland and the valley of the Yanze18 in China (the latter being much more populated) and considering the ecological difficulties. The “great divergence” had occurred. Latin America lives a period of relative autonomy. the English colonies (and to a lesser degree the French ones and those of the other Northern Europe powers) shall enjoy the advantages of having an industrial metropolis. Due to eventual not structural factors. England and other significant places of Europe. We are talking of the Mature Modernity. with respect to the Weberian hypothesis on the origin of the industrial revolution. sharing the power with the other European colonial powers.

cultural and religious revolution. A certain independent capitalism had attempted to occur in the peripheral world. etc. with the coup-de-stat prepared by the CIA against Arbenz in Guatemala. During the 19th century. the peripheral worlds will attempt an industrial revolution homogenized by a national bourgeoisie (of neocolonial mentality). Denmark. Europe will achieve a technical and military instrument supremacy. Holland. but likewise by France. Kosovo. G. In the Berlin Congress of 1884 . Africa is divided by the European powers. We are talking of two centuries of scientific. Nasser.1885. The emancipation of the Asiatic and African colonies will occur. England and. In any case. During fifty years it shares the bipolarity of the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union until the collapse of the regime of the real socialist countries launches the United States to a new stage of expansion: the neoliberal globalization (since 1989). This attempt of a national capitalism in some countries of Africa. Only in the interregnum of 1919-1945. including the addition of the railroad as a means to transport products which before would have been impossible to trade. Vargas or J. at a later dated. The African colonialism and likewise the territorial occupation of the old Ottoman Empire will not last more than a century. in Asia with Sukarno in Indonesia and latter on against Nasser in Egypt. in Egypt with A. after the Second World War (since 1945). which will produce the political phenomena which we could call “populism” (in Latin American with L. the postcolonial world will be strongly marked by the colonial phase. Perón. when the transfer of world hegemony from the European countries to the United States occurs. specially if we taking into consideration that an economic and political dependency continues to be . Cárdenas. in general. indelible signs currently difficult to overcome. Asia and Latin America shall be rapidly frustrated with a fully unequal competition from the North against the South. etc.proportions and imposes its model over France. The extraction of richness from the old and new colonies is accelerated. thanks to the coups-de-stats sponsored by the emerging power of the United States. having to exercise a military dominance which it will not be able to sustain for a long time. which will allow it to exercise a political and military domain over all the Latin American postcolonial world and the American and Asiatic colonial worlds by England. Kant and the German Idealism will enjoy enormous respect in all of Europe. In all cases. § 4. Afganistan and again against Iraq have mined its hegemony. technological and political hegemony. Late Modernity At the end of the so called Second World War appears the emerging American Empire which had been brewing since its emancipation from the United Kingdom. from the start of the First World War to the end of the Second World War and somewhat later. supported by the scientific. even in the United States. in Indochina with Sukarno. when half a century of postcolonial age occurs. In Latin America 1954 is the initial year. The succeeding wars with Iraq.). governments are changed due to direct intervention. in India with the Party of Congress. starting with the industrial revolution and up to the time of its acceleration by the imperialistic phenomena (in the sense considered by Lenin) around 1870.

This in reality meant that the struggle for world competency between the bourgeoisie of the metropolitan countries against the week bourgeoisie of the old colonies which at that time were politically liberated in Africa and Asia from their former European metropolis announcing a new type of dependency on behalf of the United States. The romantic conservative thought (expressed in the thought of a Heidegger. beginning a new stage of the capital now transnationalized. The Chinese. The postcolonial dependency is geometrically accelerated. In the second place. under the control of successive European empires and currently under the American empire would have completely subsumed humanity with its old . The age of the productive capital transnationalization now becomes generalized in the marketing sphere and the mobility of the financial capital. The collapse denoted by the Soviet Union plunges the vanguard movements of the periphery in a crisis which it has found necessary to reformulate. § 5. Vietnamese and Cuban revolutions. colonialism and capitalism. among many others. produces a massive poverty in the periphery. when looking to the south the attempts of a certain populism is destroyed under the name of “development”. which place in the periphery (and in every other favorable space) the productive body of capital (the productive company itself). It would seem that the impact of a globalizing Modernity. This is the time when the Transnational Corporations are born. The postcolonial countries (some with two centuries of postcolonialism and a few years after their political emancipation suffer now the penetration which transfers their increased valued to the “center” of these transnational companies which revolutionize the planning of production processes and the distribution in a globalized market. The globalization process of transnational capital likewise changes many factors of the critical thought. other than simple colonialism. for example). The subject of liberation of a neocolonial postcolonial continues to be the order of the day in all the work periphery in 2004 and the Iraq War gives evidence of this. the socialist ideology (another current of the modern European thought). indicating that said countries lack capital and technology. guaranteed by the American political and military power. Firstly the United States had to bind its hegemony over the West from the beginning of the Cold War (1945-1954).exercised in different forms. together with the ecologic destruction that touches all humanity. profoundly anti-liberal is imitated in the periphery by the nationalistic movements of the bourgeoisie. lead us to thing that the colonialist capitalism can be overcome within a mid-term. The devastating effects in the postcolonial countries which can not with equality compete. Likewise. Trans-Modernity and the postulation of a world increasingly about the fulfillment of the aspiration that “another world is possible” Unnoticed a phenomenon has occurred in the panoptic vision of the “zero point” of the European perspective. When the collapse of the Soviet Union occurs in 1989. which triumphed in the Russian Revolution reaches the periphery. transnational capitalism is unlimitedly globalized.

mainly Cuba. cultural condition of the western societies. Quechua or Aymara cultures. the Hindustan. The problem is the following. half modernized. The great Asian cultures offered much more resistance (China. partially destroyed the cultures with the violence of its weapons. Faced with this false dilemma I began years ago to propose the clarification of another alternative which in fact is being developed before our eyes. but millions survived and with this their despised languages and cultural elements and. are “universal” because they have been conceived and developed based on from hundreds of specific cultures.19 such as China. and so many others. post-modernity. not properly planetary. which were always the start of the western presence when faced with foreign cultures. In any case. 19 . To this we should add the numerous African population which was uprooted to America (the Caribbean. Those non-modernized cultures or cultural strata. with this they could mimetically hide and survive through the 21st century. We are trying to “in-corporate” an external moment to the Totality: it eliminates exteriority. the Bantu Africa and Latin America (to this we would probably have to include some peripheral countries of Eastern Europe). Hindustan. 20 “Subsume” (from ther Latin subsuntio and the German Subsumption) is the verb used by Kant which indicates the act of “inference” of the main premises and less from the syllogism in the conclusion. with their own cultural characteristics. the Tupi-Guarani and other groups of planters and the southern and northern nomads of the continent) could not resist the attack. the Incan Andean. thus. Marx in turn used “Subsumption”. counter-phenomena then of Modernity itself. the Asiatic southeast). can only occur in “modernized” societies.traditional cultures. the Chibchan. Thus. they can not be post-modern and said phenomena do not touch it or produce Kitsch monsters. it would seem that the dilemma is to become westernized in the postmodern globalization or to irremediably disappear. Brazil and the colonies south of New England). with regional universality. counter-modern or simply abandoned by Modernity can not be assumed. The “great” cultures such as those cited. I call this “universality” “regional” because of everything circumscribed to a specific range. The Amerindian cultures (Mesoamerican. Mayan. when filling in the “world-market” vacated by the absence of the Chinese commercial and shipping powers at the beginning of the 15th century. subcultures imitating plastic. the Islamic world (from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean) and to a lesser degree the African cultures. The genocide was greater. but which does not manage to diagnose itself clearly. The impact of the European culture. On the other hand in the postcolonial periphery. Hegel used the word “Aufhebung”. are to be discarded in their misery. This post-colonialism is two centuries old. This would have been domestication without a possible liberation future or autonomous development of the other cultures. they had no iron weapons nor could they move themselves with horses (as the African and Asiatic). To completely subsume20 is to pretend to have eliminated from the dominated and peripheral cultures of Late or Mature Modernity every external moment of its own to the logic of western culture. Aztec. the Arabian-Islamic world. transubstances the external moment and totalizes it as an internal determination of Totality. among them racial mestization was not possible. the Asiatic Southeast.

but that it is born outside. because they used as reference impoverished human masses and communities.either due to the large birth rate of the autochthonous population. non-significant for “marketing”. beyond. of their exteriority.22 begins to be considered as a point of reference. 23 The Arabian language. European. not the race. mathematical. they are suppressible miserable. with respect to the “life work” in reference to “capital” as a whole). Marx says. of about a half century. The Latin-Germanic culture. The despised cultural moment. in their elites. heir of the Greeks and Byzantines (the most cultivated Eastern Roman Greek Empire. are beginning to become aware of their dignity. What “trans” means is that it is not only later than the western central Modernity (which the prefix “post” likewise indicates). not dangerous and. I believe that before our eyes a phenomena develops. allowed to survive because it was useless. which The “market” does not only assume the need of goods. “from the nothing” of the western cultures and even from its “postmodern condition” (last internal critical moment of said Modernity). compared with the Western Latin). which I will to call trans-modern. culturally colonial). who can buy goods. 21 . But that Making. as denied with the Unites States the international “State of Law”. It is in what was called in the 17th and 18th centuries “status of nature”. eliminating the “tax paradises”. which from translators from Toledo in Spain will generate the renaissance of the Latin-German of the 8th century around Paris. is indispensable without the Arabian-Islamic world. as well as by the very antique traditions of the Middle East and became a technical. Repeating the question: Will all this peripheral and postcolonial cultures. which exploited the colonies without racially “mixing” with the autochthonous population. or due to the type of colonization proper of capitalism after the industrial revolution. The mere existence of their own tradition. it does not have laws to regulate and hinders for said laws to be rendered. of the capitalism that dominates and exterminates its enemies in the postcolonial world (but in their mentalities. because it was beyond every market. but demands “needy with money” (solvent). under the pure law of the strongest. philosophical language. This meant a much more structured population and cultural survival in the Asiatic-African colonialism and its easy distinctive presence in the postcolonial stage. was deeply rebuilt at the end of the 7th century. of the political and military power of the empires in turn. is at this time an “illegal” structure. the indiscriminated mobility of investments and before the inability of punishing the “white collar” crimes (such as the theft to savers by foreign banks in Argentina) before the International Criminal Courts. 22 The transnational financial capital. not solvent (without money) and thus “non-buyers”21. which have survived up to the 21st century disappear. of their value. not appreciated by their own or foreigners before the impressive efficiency of the technology of the modern western culture. not annihilated because it was devalued. peripheral (which is being impoverished with the systemic transfer of increased value by various mechanisms of exchange and the debts immorally contracted with the illegal international financial capital). from a “creative source” (schoepferische Quelle. which should regulate the financial transactions among countries. The poor without money are not a market. to end. will they be fully subsumed (which is the same) or is there an alternative? Beyond the postmodern condition (proper of modern “center” cultures). both by renaissance of the Greek philosophy. The largest Asiatic cultures (such as the Chinese and Hindustan) or the Western Mediterranean (such as the Arabian-Islamic)23 have about disappeared from the stage of the history “as told by European Modernity” (the “Eurocentrism”). barbarian.

All this question is based on the liberty of the community subject which must have the Power to use its own criteria (not the one of the western culture) of discernment. eliminated by the military dictatorships of Latin America guided by the Pentagon and the Department of State) ended by being accepted by the westernized elites of the colonial. 24 . moralizing. To the contrary. the alternative must be “realistic”. the Talmud. especially when the institutions of a said system stop answering the demands of permanency and growth of human life. as well as Jewish (position sustained by the Zionism of Ariel Sharon. the Sephardic and Azquenasis rabbis.disappears cultures (as those “disappeared”. destroying the houses of their families without a judge rendering a sentence after the submittal of evidence is State terrorism and it has become so normal that we are no longer aware how barbarian it is. but opposes a diverging type of anti-dialectic fixation which it can not defend alone. we propose another paradigm (and the politicalcultural postulate) for the “trans-modernity”. The dominant classes were westernized. With respect to the European and medieval system. thus. without uncovering their barbaric strength well beyond all civilized legality. substantively identical to itself and as a startup point for all “salvation” before the violence and arrogance of western culture. They ended by convincing themselves and taught their “own disappearance”. who is anti-Semite. is faced with certain dangers. but by those who must adopt its elements for their own development. “historically” located. while the other two. pass as not being terrorists and even pretend to be progressive. because they were the mediators of the metropolitan power over their own colonized peoples. an unrealistic despise of the values and power of the dominant Modern culture. the previous same tradition of chock with European Modernity. because it is present in all the world. The task of those who become aware of the value of their own ancestral culture. etc) and likewise Islamic. democratizing forces. faced with the technical power and the globalizing capital (specially in its purely military level). creative in the solution to the intended dilemma. starting with the “exteriority” of said Modernity. because the point is not assimilation or extinction! Before an unstoppable globalization which claims to homogenize all humanity under the criteria and values of one sole English speaking culture. of the dignity of their own traditions. The torture of a terrorist in Guantanamo or killing one with a trial in Gaza. 25 Marx spoke of the “civilizing power of capital”. On the other. in the present and future). The latter is judged as “terrorist”. which is mystified and upheld as exemplary. because their elites began to have power and control over the “uncultured” masses (of the western culture). first colonial and. We do not mean the rejection of the best25 which Humanity produced in Modernity (fruit of the Currently this “integrative fundamentalism” is both Christian (as part of the policies of the government of the United Status as followed in the second war against Iraq). which sets forth an impossible alternative to Modernity and Post-Modernity (as it is outside its possibilities) and possible and creative. capitalism was a great step forward for said continent in favor of its population. peripheral world. that of Mature Modernity or before the integrative fundamentalism24 of the return to the substantiation of a cultural identity already previously achieved (and. postcolonial. but in a permanent dialogue with it. On the one hand. The discernment between the best of a culture and its worst can not be made by the same culture. But even though there are many positive values. at a later date. if as Semite we understand the great critical tradition of the prophets of Israel. as they have the power to define who terrorists are. they betray their history and created a mirage that there was a universal culture. to exalt to such extent their own culture. that of European Modernity. intelligent with respect to the diagnosis of the situation. we can not stop seeing negative effects each time more present. who sees the danger of such a destructive homogenization.

26 where it evidences that the philosophical school of Al-Andalús (the caliphate of Cordoba. Barcelona. on the other.creative work of Europeans and of all the cultures of the World) or the best which the tradition of the cultures attacked by Modernity would have produced before the confrontation. The aspects excluded of the classic cultures. critically deconstructs its heritage. Icaria. The doctrine of the “two truths” or the Latin Averroism is clearly expressed in the philosophy of the Parisian professor Thomas de Aquinas. where Avicenna produces his work. between the tradition excluded from the great cultures (and even less the universal or secondary ones) of the post-colonial peripheral with western Modernity (one of the currently existing cultures. This is the intellectual program of Mohammed Abel Al-Yabri. the Arabian-Islamic culture. the one of Maghreb) was an indirect effect of the Latin American conquest (with its abundant silver. the paralyzing fundamentalism. 2001. arrives to the “western” school (being the eastern” the Fatimid of El Cairo and the caliphate of Baghdad. for example). of the living tradition of the Different cultures of Modern Identity. faithful to the most radical tradition (with respect to the self-consciousness of a history critically reconstructed) and conceiver of alternatives which resist the attack. at the same time. The future project would not only be a homogenous universal culture. for example. 26 . Averroës. 2001. Madrid. thus. at a theoretical level and with Ibn-Rush (Averroës) he manages to fully distinguish the rational truth of the hermeneutic level of interpretation starting with faith in the Koran. I call a “Trans-Modern” program an attempt to start from the generating core of new cultural development. In this form. currently affirmative of the Difference. on the one hand. Thus. Abenjaldún. philosopher from Morocco. and El legado filosófico árabe. Crítica de la razón árabe. confronted by and with Modernity. with their world level intellectual centers. It would then be interesting to have a south-south dialogue. to evaluate its contributions in the construction of the hegemonic Modernity (which the European one believes it produced alone) and to discover the contemporaneous possibilities which are. in an attempt to better understand its past. such as Samarkand or Bujara. but began developing the potentials of their own cultures. but a differentiated many nature creation of the aforementioned dialogue. Trotta. because as Latin Americans we would have to ask the Moroccan philosopher to what extent the crisis of the Mediterranean (and. in dialogue with Modernity. an inevitable exchange with said Modernity. Al-Yabri clearly evidences how the roots of the Illustration were expressed in an explicit form by Averroës. fully developed in the modern-European Illustration. which generated a crisis in all the kingdoms of the south Saharan See for example. Said cultures did not keep intact a substance identity already constituted. the dominant ones and those that due to their tendency attempt to destroy all other cultures. never stopped a process of continuous change. which include Spain and Morocco). in an identity as a continuous process of creative conception. in which the goods of the transnational capital are equally bearers of spiritual cultural materials). Avicenna. Avempace. of the homogenizing transnational globalization and. updated (with the elements freely chosen from the exteriority of their own culture with respect to Modernity). Lecturas contemporáneas. from Al-Yabri. but which continued reacting during the last centuries. studies it and evaluates using a hermeneutic which is the fruit of a methodological attitude of Modernity (in this case since Schleiermacher). even with their global market. Alfarabi.

for example. Theodore de Bary. of 27 . Armida 29 “Confucius never said that we had to study Confucius” (in Feshu I: 17 (quoted by Wm. Columbia University Press. 1999. from a family of international dealers who fall in disgrace due to the terrible decisions of the Mings of closing the doors to the “exterior” and.31 Lü Liu-liang (1629-1683. page 870).28 there was a certain carelessness of the millenary cultural and philosophical tradition of China on the part of the Maoist revolution.27 specifically the doctrines of Wang Yang-ming (1472-1529).29 Huang Tsung-hsi (1610-1695). being inspired in authors more than two thousand years old. edited by Wm. with authors such as the aforementioned Wang Yang-ming with its Shu Xi doctrine (“great learning”). etc. China. interpretation. Ming-i-tai-fang lu (Waiting for the Dawn: a Plan for the Prince). not worldwide) and the opening of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.savannah and. on an England of some 3 million). Mencius. of the Ottoman Mediterranean) has to do with the stagnation and decadency of the Arabian thought effective from the 16th century. de Bary. writes a political treaty (the Ming-i tai-fang lu [Plan to await Dawn]. New York. with Hindustan and China and generated for the excluded Arabian culture to fall in the lethargy of its stagnation. The loss of “centrality” of the Mediterranean (certainly regional “centrality”. C. History and Will. I personally state. 30 See the edition of this work of Huang Tsung-hsi. where the horizon of the problem holds such disproportion with the European authors of the age. Ch’üan Tsu-wang (1705-1755). New York. Berkeley. such as the classics (from I Chang to Confucius. 31 Huang reflects on a political structure of 150 million persons (Hobbes. Philosophical Perspectives of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought. Columbia University Press. it begins to develop from its tradition its best past and present contributions and may be rapidly integrated to the construction of the “pluri-versum (not the homogenizing “uni-verse”). in diachronic structural places of a work about to be published on Historia mundial de la Filosofía política. Hu Han. producing a merciless skeptic criticism to the empire. reviews the political history from the beginning of the empire through the end of the third century B. New York. Instructions for Practical Living and other Writings. frequently quotes Confucius. Mo’i. The universalism of “all-those-below the-sky” allows him to set forth a theory and the experience of the “law”. the world of the Arabian language is being reborn.. 28 See other Works of Wang Yang-ming. economic. Columbia University Press. contemporary of Hobbs. makes reference to the experiences of 477 B. would weaken the “connection” of the caravans of the Arabian culture (already fractured by the Turkish invasions). 1973. without losing the sense of Difference or the planetarium of responsibility of the intellectual militancy. etc. University of California Press. 1993. where respect to Difference is not a confrontation with the strict criticism and scientific precision of the cultural. which was only dormant during the last two centuries and which powerfully resurges at all its levels. that it is ridiculous to make a comparison with the latter. See Fredric Wakeman. li Zhi (1527-1602).. etc. Huang. technical. etc. Sources of Chinese Tradition from earliest times to 1600.). political. Mencius. T’ang chen (1620-1704). thus. T. but likewise the simultaneous development of the modern European philosophy.30. We can say the same thing about China. the Hindustan or the Latin American worlds – I myself am a part of a generation that reconstructs its own thought in dialogue with Modernity. at the same. the presence of Chinese philosophers. since before the “warrior States” and the famous Sunzi and its developments and commentators. as the Arabian world. 1963. Currently.undertake a task of deeply reviewing their cultural past. Though it is true that Mao Tse-tung was deeply inspired by the neo-Confucian philosophy. volume 1. artistic. C. according to the Twelve Circles. Currently and his work is an example.

irrigation system of the great channels hundreds of kilometers long. a first momento of a happening beyond Modernity. creators of the Different cultures excluded from Modernity.32 All this opens a theoretic framework to many pressing tasks. we have to interpret it with new categories. the development of this possibility of the Other is an impossibility of Modernity. extracted. urban and trade taxes. from the creative study of their own traditions and from the production of trans-modern novelty. which are the ones I attempt to develop. and another despised. ethics and politics. to simply be an imitation of the same process historically followed by Modernity. This is one last issue which I must clarify. b] to know how to adopt in a critical and autonomous form to the best of Modernity. South-North. which starting from the political practice and inspired partly on the philosophical assumptions of the Semitic vision of existence (Babylonian. was clearly stated in the phenomenology of E. the repair and development of the enormous wall of thousands of kilometers long before the barbarian people of the north. In any case. had printed paper money. specially the synthesis expressed with the name of Philosophy of Liberation. excluded and devalued aspect.The “Trans-Modern” is not the last critica and debilitating moment –thinkin in the pensiero debole of Gianni Vattimo. regime of agricultural. c] to creatively answer to novelties of contemporary challenges). The peripheral postcolonial cultures. It is here. Levinas –whose politics have many limitations. It is evident that this also has negative aspects. In English see my works already quoted. It arises from the nothing of the hegemonic culture. On the part of the critical dialogue necessary to share experiences. but it is a dawn process. with solutions to the question of monetary inflation (because China since the 4th century A. Christian. since the end of the 60’s decade. which had entered the industrial revolution. from the beyond the limit of its ontology. Phoenician. those who undertake this dialogue must speak on behalf. Arabian). beyond Modernity. stolen and dominated moment. C. Thus. Russia and Japan. from non-being of Modernity.of Modernity. With the the school reforms of the more than one hundred thousand mandarins. to understand the pitiful state in which the Empire fell. of the last century. as such. from a tradition of its own. this can not be. not only of their own cultures in an “awakening” status. the one which never was western. Maoism will produce a political. economic and technological revolution in what we might call a “trans-modern” project. to create new products which comply with the conditions set forth (a] to be faithful to the best of their own tradition. On the part of the negotiators. of the location of the armies in the frontiers (specially the north one) with one million soldiers (compare this figure with those of Machiavelli or Hobbes. The Chinese adopt elements of the western modern culture (and Marxism is one of them). but the Chinese contemporary criticism must be made. becomes it comes from outside in the systematic spaciality and because it goes towards a pluri-versum future culture by a road which runs a road on the outside of the process which developed Modernity. economic-technical achievement which Europe would imitate one thousand years later). 32 I repeat. from where we extract criteria of a procedural identity and never a substantive one. finally. of the other culture. a political treaty too advanced for the Europe of the 17th century. an intercultural South-South. have a partial exploited. ontology. a whole project of discursive exchange will be necessary to reach a consensus from the symmetric participation of those affected. which suddenly begin to show a Different physiognomy. the “developmental falacy” consists in pretending to oblige to that eternal process of the excluded cultures. These are the subjects which we philosophically exposed with extreme precision. torn by the European powers. adopting said Modernity and from its own cultural tradition. All the peripheral and postcolonial cultures will follow another development road towards a future cultural plus-universum cultural than modern Europe. this alternative is not perfect. it arises from the exteriority of the Other. It is “trans(modern)” because it comes aftwards in time. . However. it must be done from the victims of their own cultures. who considered with respect to the armies of their respective States!). Jewish.

The popular culture of the difference. Fanon) the reference which leads. peripheral and postcolonial. as stated in the Philosophy of Liberation. The dialogue of the elites hides the future project of a plus-universum or symphony of Differences in consensus. which lights up this type of dialogue. in their own suffering. of the Exteriority of Modernity. the work of E. The dialogue between cultures must not be hegemonized. it is not necessary. can mark the “road”. Levinas or of W. or by the capitalist magnets who exploit there respective countries. but they are inevitable at the long range. the impoverished members of the Arab and Islamic tribes. . but it is a negative effect of the errors always possible from fallible. non-perfect decisions. Benjamin. will allow us to become aware of the conditions of the Trans-Modern Cuturalism in the full sense of the word. or by the sheiks. The immediate effects are not perceptible.decolonization trying to deny what of colonial the postcolonial cultures have. at the same time they had sealed their future fate and were to suffer the setback of the almost disappearance of China in the 19th century. either by the mandarins or by the Brahmans. The victims of their own cultures (the Chinese peasants. only the victims. the Latin American Indians. together with the salaried workers. the African slaves. the “pariahs” of India. When the Mings decided to “close” themselves to the exterior to “give order to the interior of China”. or by the intellectual elites of the respective peripheral postcolonial cultures. But we must not forget. the Tao. only the poverty and lack of culture of the dominant cultures (the world which is globalized and the regions which have traditionally dominated for centuries their own masses). those “condemned to the land” according to F. that every culture inevitably has its own victims.

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